Revisiting why spelling matters

Note: The WritingEssentials blog is on hiatus. Meanwhile, favorite posts will be published with updates. Ellen ~~ At a recent editing workshop, the instructor pulled out an old “chestnut,” a passage that contains jumbled words (with the first and last letters intact) which supposedly demonstrates that despite misspellings, the human mind can comprehend what is …

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Revisiting the full stop or period controversy

Note: The WritingEssentials blog is on hiatus. Meanwhile, favorite posts will be published with updates. Ellen ~~ Study of the evolution of punctuation marks show how arbitrary they can be, and yet they do add order to written communication, as LeTourneau in English Grammar says, to set off syntactical constituents. In his essay, “In Praise …

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What is a run-on sentence?

Note: The WritingEssentials blog is on hiatus. Meanwhile, favorite posts will be published with updates. This is an update of part 1 of “What is a sentence?” Ellen ~~ Run-on sentences, which include comma splices and fused sentences, deal with the question When is a sentence a sentence? A run-on sentences is essentially a compound sentence that …

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What is the Oxford or Serial Comma Controversy? Updated 1.8.21

Note: The WritingEssentials blog is on hiatus. Meanwhile, favorite posts will be published with updates. Ellen ~~ To comma or not to comma? What do you do when using a comma in a series? Do you write red, white, and blue  or   red, white and blue? The use of comma in a series or list …

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Devices for Sentence Variety

The past few posts have focused on subordination by dependent clauses and subordination by verbals and reduction. We use subordination to express relationships between our ideas, combining ideas and sentences of unequal importance. When we create complex sentences, we combine two independent clauses, by changing one independent clause into a dependent (subordinate) clause which contains …

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Subordination by Reduction

We have examining the ways of using subordination, whether through dependent clauses (adverb, adjective, noun) or through verbals (infinitives, gerunds, or present and past participles). These are all examples of reduction, reducing the number of words without losing our meaning. Sentence    ↓ Clause    ↓ Phrase (verbal, appositive, prepositional)    ↓ Word (adjective, adverb) …

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Focus on Noun Clause as Subordination

The Writingessentialsbyellen.com blog has been examining English sentence types, with the most recent focus on complex sentences. Complex sentences, formed by subordinating one idea (or sentence) to another, are useful for showing the various kinds of relationship that exist among ideas. We considered the adverb clause and the adjective clause, two ways to form complex …

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Focus on Adjective Clause as Subordination

We have been examining English sentence types with a focus on complex sentences. In the previous post, we considered adverb clauses—clauses that are used as adverbs. This post will give attention to adjective clauses. As its name suggests, adjective clauses are clauses that are used as adjectives. We have looked in a number of posts …

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